Green light for the Operational Plan to protect the rights of women and girls who are victims of trafficking

The Council of Ministers approved yesterday an agreement that gives the green light to Road plan: Operational Plan for the Protection of the Human Rights of Women and Girls, Victims of Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation and in the Context of Prostitution (2022-2026).

Trafficking in women and girls is a serious violation of human rights and a form of violence against women that is inextricably linked to prostitution, as this constitutes the main purpose of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

According to the executive in reference to the agreements adopted yesterday:

Despite the great progress we are making as a country – as Spain is an international benchmark in the fight against sexist violence – victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and women prostitutes face serious obstacles to exercising their rights. Many women have reached these situations (and remain in them) because of the lack of a real and viable alternative to meet their needs and those of their dependents. Others are victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation and are in situations of serious risk where their integrity and life are at risk.

Faced with this reality, the government has advanced in terms of regulations and public policies. Organic Law 10/2022 of September 6 on the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom consolidates a framework of rights for victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and pimping. In turn, Royal Decree-Law 6/2022 of March 29, which adopts emergency measures within the framework of the National Plan for responding to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine, enshrines in its article 47 administrative accreditation for the purposes of the rights to social support for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, regardless of complaint, adopted by agreement at the Equality Sector Conference on 27 May 2022.

Finally, the government adopted as a strategic public policy against all forms of human trafficking the National Strategic Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Exploitation 2021-2023, coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior.

In order to operationalize the obligations arising from this new regulatory framework and the implementation of public policies, the Ministry of Equality, in coordination with the other participating ministries, prepared an Operational Plan for the protection of the human rights of women and girls who are victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and in the context of prostitution (2022 – 2026), Road plan.

This plan represents an impetus for political action to increase attention to the context of prostitution, as complex scenarios in which women can go through different situations of exploitation and human rights violations, articulating actions in the following main areas:

  • Improving available information on the scale of trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution, including a quantitative and qualitative map of the reality of these women and girls.
  • Preventing the demand for trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution through education and awareness-raising actions in targeted sectors, such as tourism, leisure or sports, especially targeting adolescents and older men.
  • Promoting cross-agency disclosure of trafficking and sexual exploitation through training and providing tools to all social, health or educational professionals.
  • Consolidate the system for the accreditation of victims without the need to file a complaint or to have completed the formal identification procedure, as a first step to access social assistance rights, including health care, and as a measure to promote formal identification.
  • Guaranteeing victims’ economic and housing autonomy, allowing them to opt out of exploitative scenarios, and providing pathways out of prostitution with real-life alternatives.
  • Facilitating access to the public health system with special emphasis on primary care and sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Protecting and guaranteeing the rights of women victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and women in the context of prostitution, through the institutional articulation of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary nature of care and recovery measures, awareness and prevention, economic and housing autonomy, punishment of those responsible and benefit others rights.
  • Promoting access to regular documents for foreign women, victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation or women in the context of prostitution with indicators of extreme vulnerability, as the main way to start and consolidate the process of exit and emancipation from the situation of exploitation.

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